Grab ‘extremely confident’ about resolving Singapore competition watchdog’s concerns

Photo: Uber app - Bloomberg (left) / Grab advertisements - Reuters (right)

Singapore-based ride-hailing major Grab says it is “extremely confident” that it will be able to work through the proposed financial penalties imposed by the city-state’s competition watchdog.

Grab has said it will prepare its written representation by July 26 while asserting that it has “complied with the law in every way and will continue to do that”.

Grab co-founder and CEO Anthony Tan, while talking to the media after the launch of its grocery delivery service on Tuesday morning, said, “The government (SG) does see that Grab plays a key role in the market, we have the largest engineering talent in Singapore. We will continuously work closely with the government to encourage innovation. We are extremely confident that we will be able to work through this.”

Grab has collaborated with Singapore government agencies Economic Development Board and GovTech on various initiatives on innovations in the mobility space.

Talking about the competition issue, Tan said, “It is very competitive in this market – there are many taxi companies and there are many forms of new mobility. In the end, the space of mobility will continue to have tremendous competition. We want more so that we keep innovating for our customers. In the end, Grab has a GrabPlatform, so we must deliver more value to customers to lower the cost and find ways to make it more efficient force people to travel, or to partner with the government for Grab Shuttle.”

Last week, the Singapore Competition and Consumer Commission had said that it had found evidence that the Grab-Uber merger has substantially lessened competition and proposed to impose financial penalties on both to restore market contestability.

However, Grab had responded on the same day and termed the watchdog’s verdict “overreaching” and that it has taken a “very narrow approach to defining competition”.

Grab has recently raised $1 billion financing from Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp, as part of the startup’s ongoing funding round. Tan said the funding round has “created tremendous momentum” for Grab’s fundraising activities.

“And we will continue to build on that momentum. We can’t comment on valuation. There is no immediate need for an IPO – it’ll always be an option but we don’t need to execute that option right now. Having said that, we are built with all the right checks and balances in terms of auditing, accounting, compensation etc. We are built as a properly-run company. So if we ever want to go for an IPO, we know that we will fulfill all the governance requirements,” he said.

Also read:

Singapore says Grab-Uber merger hurts competition, proposes penalties

Grab launches grocery delivery service, to cross $1b in revenues this year

Grab bags $1b from lead investor Toyota in latest funding round